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FBI chief, intelligence officials to testify before Senate panel next week

FBI chief, intelligence officials to testify before Senate panel next week
© Camille Fine

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week for a hearing focused on global threats, the panel announced Wednesday.

Wray will be joined by a slate of top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAvoiding the 1876 scenario in November Democrat asks intelligence director if Trump's personal debt is security problem FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden MORE, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTreasury sanctions Iran's ambassador to Iraq Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning House lawmakers call for continued assistance to Lebanon MORE, National Security Agency Director Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersDemocrats slam DHS chief for defying subpoena for testimony on worldwide threats Remembering 9/11 as we evaluate today's emerging threats Hillicon Valley: Tech CEOs brace for House grilling | Senate GOP faces backlash over election funds | Twitter limits Trump Jr.'s account MORE, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, the committee said. 

While the Feb. 13 testimony is routine — part of an annual hearing intended to examine current threats to U.S. national security — Wray's appearance comes as the FBI faces scrutiny from the White House and some Republican lawmakers who have raised concerns about political bias among agents at his bureau.

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That scrutiny spilled out into the open last week when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a contentious memo alleging that senior FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials misused their authority to obtain a secret surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE moved to approve the memo's release, despite concerns raised by the FBI about material omissions in the document that could affect its accuracy.

Trump claimed on Saturday that the memo "vindicates" him in the law enforcement investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia. 

After the memo was released on Friday, Wray sent a message to FBI employees, urging them to "keep calm and tackle hard."

"Talk is cheap; the work you do is what will endure," he said.

Trump has openly feuded with the FBI throughout his first year in office, accusing the agency of politicizing law enforcement, mishandling the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Trump, Biden tangle over Wall Street ties, fundraising The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE’s use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department and calling the Russia probe a “witch hunt.”

Trump fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump remarks put pressure on Barr Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals MORE in May, citing concerns about his handling of the Clinton investigation. Trump later said, however, that the FBI's Russia probe was on his mind when he made the decision to oust Comey.

Trump has also directed some of his ire at former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeHillicon Valley: CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify before Senate | European Union police agency warns of increase in cybercrime | Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump's death Graham officially schedules hearing on Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump eager to leave the hospital MORE, whom he repeatedly accused of political bias. Fueling those allegations was the fact that McCabe’s wife received a contribution from a group linked to a Clinton ally during her 2015 campaign for the Virginia state Senate. McCabe resigned last month.

Updated: 4:17 p.m.